By Jane Kingsu-Cheng | Family portrait by Luxe Photography Inc.
Mom-of-two Joyce Lee-Syki is into felt fabric. “I love the colors and you can turn them into anything! I designed our Magnetic Fishing Sets and we had them as giveaways for my son’s first birthday. A few friends mentioned that I could sell them too and that’s how it started. We introduced Mr. Skelly, the Christmas trees and then the Christmas Alphabet and Numerical ornaments after that.”
Joyce helps out in her husband Rocky’s family business, and finds time to channel her creativity with Play Factory. They released the skeleton-and-organs set last September, and recently launched their holiday collection: “My daughter was in the possessive phase when we were planning our product designs for Christmas. Everything she saw was hers, so I thought, ‘Okay, why not let her have her own tree then?’”
Read on to find out how this three month-old brand encourages learning through play:
Why the name Play Factory?
We advocate play-based learning, hence the name Play Factory. Kids nowadays go to school so young, some at age 2, and are assessed early on based on their ability to write, read, and know certain concepts. The intent of our toys is for kids to learn through play; for them to do away with structured academic activities, at least at home, and encourage creativity, discovery, and imagination while learning.
How’s your day like, and how do you spend time as a family?
My husband and I rely very much on our kids’ yayas and we value them a lot. There are days we can reach home early and play with the kids for an hour or so, while there are days when they are already asleep when we get home. They basically care for our kids, take them to school and other classes, everything. My schedule in the office is flexible and my husband and I make it a point to be at our kids’ school activities. Our son spends more time with us as he still breastfeeds at night. What we do is go on one on-one dates with our daughter to spend more time with her.
What do you love most about this hobby-turned-business?
It’s always good to try something on your own, even small steps towards it is already an achievement. My husband always tells me to just give it a go. In the end, you will never fail because you still learned something from it.
What’s your favorite product?
Mr. Skelly is very memorable. It’s not easy to make so we encountered quite a few mishaps in the production, but in the end, it worked out for the better. My daughter also learned to identify a few organs just by spending time helping us pack and arrange materials for production.
3 reasons to try felt toys:
1. Get to play and learn.
Our daughter experienced developmental delays due to excessive screen time. Coming up with activities to keep kids entertained is a challenge, so one of our goals when designing a product is to constantly keep them engaged through various ways of play.
2. Create livelihood opportunities.
I want to help moms like myself by giving them opportunities to earn while at home. Our toys are handmade by women from underprivileged communities and as we grow, the more we are able to reach out to. Our sewers and crafters are women from disadvantaged families in Caloocan and Novaliches and one of our goals is to reach more people in the community by providing avenues for them to earn a livelihood, especially this holiday season.
3. Easy-to-follow instructions.
I want to leave my kids with toys that they could play with their yayas, hence most our toys come with simple instructions adults can use as guidelines. I feel that I am somehow part of their learning even though I am not physically there.
For more details, follow them on Instagram @playfactory.ph.